So what's getting me this month? Well, there are a few things. They can be boiled down to Growth. Yes, I'm capitalizing it. It shall be personified--just for right now.
The aspects of Growth are personal-writing related and related to the industry at a large--my opinions here being formed as the lone 20-something working in Sacramento's only exclusively new book Independent Bookstore. Isn't that something? That there's only one of us in a state capitol?
It has me in it's grasp. Growth has come to be welcome on some days and pulling me heels-dragging-screaming at other days. It has overturned long held assumptions and now it has oozed into my writing. I spotted it awhile ago, and was thankful for the depth and improvement in my writing.
Now Growth has altered my reading habits, which can only serve to hone my writing further. I have been obsessed with non-fiction. I have read two books (at least) possibly three in the past month. It has been a long time since I managed these rates of completion. And I owe a device to half of the reason. I was given a Paperwhite, which was the only e-reader that had ever peaked my interest sufficiently.
Yes, I devoured a ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) called Foodist, by Darya Pina Rose--now available in hardback, followed by Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, and Gary Taub's Good Calories, Bad Calories-- all in book form. But then, on the Paperwhite, I (started) "Fast Food Nation", read "Omnivore's Dilemma," and am most of the way through "Cooked." I will switch back to fiction and complete "American Gods" next. But I also can't wait to get my hands (or eyes) on Lisa See's "Snow Flower and the Secret fan," and "Dragonbones."
How will all of this non-fiction change my fantasy writing? I have a few ideas. I think I'll share in a future blog post :)
Devices, Online shopping and bookstores -- a recurrent theme where I work. Also, the big glaring question of where are the 20something and 30something readers represented in the store's layout and displays?
I have been asked this, point blank. I did a touch of research and realized book shopping is driven by individuals over 35, and primarily over 65. Amazon had these trends as did websites representing brick and mortar independants.
My customers think that "Young people," -- a term I once thought only applied to teens, but now seems to encapsulate anyone under 40-- read on devices. And man, that idea is conveyed with a dose of contempt! I protest that "Print isn't going anywhere! But our reason for buying it is changing." Growth hit my work-sphere.
But I feel that my voice is small. The change is starting, but how to be heard? How to get the store to benefit from this change? How to pull young people in the store?
You want to see young people's book-buying preferences? Check out the Book section on Modcloth.com. funny thing? Some of their cookbooks are exactly one's I've eyed at work, but which the store, overall, has had trouble moving. Last I searched the page, driven by curiosity, I was excited by the collections they had of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Classics.
The Bookstore is driven to shelve new releases. But if they aren't on the NYTimes bestseller lists, they have a 1 in 5 chance of selling in any given month. So, in the mix of new books, all of us who work at the store slip in our favorites. I have sold Eddings' "Pawn of Prophecy," repeatedly, sold Sanderson's "Mistborn," sold Keyes' "Briar King," and on numerous occasions sent mom's home with Wrede's "Dealing with Dragons," --partially because it's one of my all time favorites and partially because I see it as an appropriate counter to the pink-laden Princess Culture. Hey, it has a princess, she's just a lot more fun than Cinderella.
Books and ownership of physical--non-digital items--as a statement of identity to be shared with the community you permit into your home. For this reason, I think that buying habits will continue to change. But declaring the direction I see it going because of how I see people shopping in the store and how I know my community of various aged individuals consumes books, plus the impact of the economy and so forth on "young people"-- I feel that my voice is small. Ineffectual.
I think I could write more on this topic... another post!